on July 21, 2008
I did not buy this book from Amazon, but I do have the book and am wanting to write a review.
A lot of Actionscript 3 books will tie the language into Flex and AIR... Two areas of Adobe's product suite that I have no concept or experience with.
So, this part from the book's "What Is- and Isn't- In This Book: What's Not" was really what pushed me into getting the book initially: "This book focuses on ActionScript 3.0, which applies to most segments of the
Flash platform but is presented within a Flash CS3 Professional context. As such, it does not include coverage of Flex, AIR, Flash Media Server, or other evolving Flash platform technologies."
That helped a lot for me. Next, I find the conversation style of the content very easy to read. I have chosen to type out the code examples as they appeared in the text (and constructing my own flash media images and movie clips) rather than use the existing digital files, so I can have practice actually assembling projects on my own. So far I'm not half way through the book, but it looks very promising, and I only had one difficulty with the code in the book so far- which was a result of Adobe changing a setting in Flash's publish function. I contacted the authors through the companion website listed in the book, and was pleased by a very prompt response (like 1 hour) with a detailed explanation of how to change Flash CS3 so the code would work properly (plus an explanation of how to fix the code so it works in flash without the publish setting change).
Thus, I'm pleased with using this book as a cornerstone learning resource for Actionscript 3.
on February 16, 2008
OK - I have Flash books coming out of my ears! I have been reading them for several years now but for some reason I still have not been able to develop an understanding of this complicated, and sometimes illogical software called Flash.
Most recently, I purchased another O'Reilly book titled Essential ActionScript 3.0 but after getting about 20 pages into it I realized that this book, although a good book as well, was meant more as a reference book for experienced ActionScript programmers, which I was not. I decided to search for a book that would allow me to walk before I run.
An Internet search presented me with several choices but the thing that caught my eye with this book was the sub-title "A Beginner's Guide". As I started to read the book I quickly realized that I had found exactly what I was looking for, a beginner's guide to ActionScript 3.0.
The book is well-written and concise with each chapter building on the next. Further, I had a question that I submitted through the companion Web Site and the author (not a help desk representative) replied within hours! Very impressive!
To use a football analogy, for the last several years I have been a running back, running up and down the line looking for a hole and finally I have found it!
Best regards - Joseph Albanese
on March 26, 2008
For many designers and developers who use Adobe Flash, the introduction of ActionScript 3 was met with some trepidation. The perceived increase in the complexity of ActionScript 3 code compared to ActionScript 2 - including the belief that you must use Object-Oriented Programming to use AS3 - has led some to decide to stick with AS2. This is unfortunate, as AS3 has a number of advantages over AS2. While AS3 is somewhat more complex than AS2, it is not prohibitively so, and the time required to bring oneself up to speed with AS3 is well rewarded.
"Learning ActionScript 3.0", by Rich Shupe and Zevan Rosser is, overall, a great introduction to AS3. The chapters are well organized, with a quick run-through of some familiar ActionScript concepts and code. If you've written any ActionScript before, you can skip this part, or skim through it just for some reassurance that not everything in AS3 is completely different from what you already know.
The subsequent chapters cover major aspects of ActionScript programming, ranging from graphics to sound and video to loading pretty much any sort of data. For example, the new display list in AS3 is thoroughly and clearly explained; as somebody still relatively new to AS3 I found this to be a pretty significant change to the way I think about Flash, so I appreciated how well the authors covered this part of AS3. And if you think that everything in AS3 only got more complicated, this book is worth it alone for the chapter on working with XML. These and other topics are explained clearly and thoroughly. The authors are both teachers at New York's School of Visual Arts, and their experience as educators shows through in their writing.
A neat aspect of the book is how it gradually transitions you into thinking about Object-Oriented Programming. For many people, the thought of having to do this with AS3 can be pretty scary. Initially, the code samples are meant to be placed right on the timeline. But part way in you get a primer on OOP. The book explains the concepts behind OOP very well, and gives the right amount of information - enough to get you going, but not so much that you'll get scared off at the thought of OOP. The code samples are no longer on the timeline, and suddenly you're working with object-oriented code, and it makes sense.
Those who are already familiar with AS2 will probably get the most out of "Learning ActionScript 3.0". If you're new to programming, and not just new to ActionScript, then this probably won't end up as the primary book you'll use to learn how to code. For example, topics that would normally get their own chapters in a 'learn how to code' book, such as variables, get only a section of a chapter by way of introduction. If you've already done some coding, this will be enough to reassure you that not everything is significantly different in AS3, but if you're new to programming, you might want something that spends a little more time on the basics.
In addition, the book would have benefited from another round of proofing. There were a few typos that, although minor, were a bit of a distraction. The typos that I came across were pretty minor - nothing that you won't immediately notice, but it's too bad that they're there in the first place. And to be fair, I think I noticed only about a half-dozen throughout the book. (By the by, the errata page at learningactionscript3.com is much more complete than the page on O'Reilly's web site.)
Obviously, if the most significant criticism I can make of this book is that there were a few too many typos for my liking, I think it's a very good book. If you're looking to make the jump into ActionScript 3 coding, "Learning ActionScript 3.0" is a great place to start your education.
on November 22, 2008
i bought this book because it was required fro a calss. i ended up learning more from the book than i did from the class. i was OK at procedural AS2, but still hadn't gotten OOP. After reading the book and working through the examples, i now feel pretty comfortable with it.
the chapters build on themselves--starting out with easy examples and progressing to more involved coding. it's quite useful if you are not so familiar with AS, and if you are, you can just skim through the easier stuff. also, many chapters build on previous ones; they refer back to examples in earlier chapters. because of this i wouldn't recommend it if you are just looking for an AS3 reference. there is a project that continues through a few of the chapters. it starts out with a simple menu bar using procedural coding and is gradually developed into a full OOP navigation system. i found this especially useful.
there are some weaknesses in the book and it might not be the best choice if you are an absolute beginner. there were places where i thought more explanation was necessary, and i found myself going through a few sections more than once before i got it. however, i have found this to be true with every computer book i have ever read.
i haven't spent too much time on the companion web site (other than to download and look at the source files), but from what i have seen, it looks great. there are lots of little tutorials that help to extend what you have learned in the book, and it seems to be updated pretty regularly. i expect that i will be spending quite a bit of time on it in the future.
on March 11, 2009
This book is subpar for a beginner. My biggest complaint has to do with the code snippets. The code snippets in the book do not match the downloadable code for each chapter in a lot of instances. This made things frustrating as I like to type along with the book, helping reinforce what I've just read. I end up spending time trying to compare the code in the book and the downloaded code. I honestly thought this is what copy editors do, or at least the ones I've worked with were very good at doing.
I would have given a lower rating but some of the detail in the book is quite well done.